“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:1–10 ESV)
Now, I’m a Calvinist and for my tribe these verses are the song of our people.
In Chapter 1 we saw that God chose us, predestined us, adopted us, redeemed us, forgave us, and sealed us by the Holy Spirit.
God is the one initiating and completing every action.
When did He do this?
When we cleaned up our act and asked Him to?
He did all of the above when you were “dead” in your trespasses and sins.
God had to do it all because as a rule of thumb dead folks don’t respond.
We had to be “born from above” before we could even “see the kingdom of God.” (John 3).
Because of His love for us and His mercy towards us He did all that was needed to do to make us alive in Christ despite finding us walking in sin.
By grace you were saved and it was not by your doing…or it wouldn’t be grace.
We’re His “workmanship”…his new creation in Christ Jesus.
A workmanship forged through love, mercy, and kindness toward us.
Here’s the important thing to remember…those are still His attitudes toward His kids…even when you are walking back the wrong way.
Now, those of you that are opposed to a Calvinistic interpretation of these verses have a choice.
We can argue about the meaning of “dead” and look for free will in this passage…or we can rejoice together that God is the author and finisher of our faith, however we parse the mechanics.
I’m up for either…
One last thing…
We were created in Christ Jesus for “good works” that we might “walk in them”…works that He chose us to do before the foundation of the world.
That means that you won’t have to go looking for good works to do… you’ll walk right into them as you walk through your daily life.
Relax… all He asks of you will be right in front of you…along with all you need to accomplish them.
God has provided all His kids will ever need…and always will.